Here is an overview of this years driving sales executive summit. I feel that this year’s conference was a huge success. It was extremely well organized and the energy level was high. This years attendance was up by 20 percent. These are some of the items that speakers had to say that really stuck out to me
Jared opened up with a speech that was very motivating. DrivingSales has a new platform coming out that will be a lot easier to use. The vendor ratings section will also be a lot easier to use. DrivingSales will also start making outbound calls to dealers asking them for vendor ratings. Spec sheets for vendors will also be implemented.
Professor Frank Cespedes
Professor Cespedes from Harvard University was our first keynote speaker. He acknowledged how big of an impact that the automotive industry has on the world's economy. He discussed how much we spend on our sales force vs. advertising. This is 3 times more than the total media advertising, 200 times more than online ads, and 100 times more than social media spend. He inferred that we should spread this around a little better. Something that really stood out to me was, "If you put a lot of eggs in one basket you better keep an eye on the basket."
Less than 50 percent of employees understand the complete strategy of your business. This percentage drops even more in the sales force. He also mentioned a few things that cause problems in our business. Most businesses have no strategy and those that do not communicate That strategy to their employees. Also sales metrics are not communicated properly.
Here are a few things that he had to say about the current sales force.
Sales forces are not disappearing (or shrinking). Sales tasks are changing due to information revolution and impact on buying behavior.
Selling is about personality
BORN salesperson is a myth…..selling effectiveness depends upon on the specific sales tasks and the fit between skills-personality and sales tasks.
There is no such thing as effective selling if sales behaviors are not connected to your firms profitable growth strategy and Business goals.
Best Idea Contest
The best idea session was good as always. It was different not seeing Robert Karbaum up there. All of the ideas were good, but I felt that the idea that Josh Pogue presented on his search results page idea was the best. It will be easy to implement and will cost nothing. He also did not pay a vendor for the idea! He did end up winning as well.
Customer experience and marketing strategy break out session with Joe Webb and Ty Bullard.
This was a very interesting breakout session. The dealer and vendor decided to try having focus groups with customers and documenting it. They had a very broad mix of customers in the group. They went to great lengths to make the customers feel comfortable and not threatened during the sessions. They came up with some interesting information that we as dealers should listen to. The clients said that the best form of communication for them was texting than e mail and lastly via phone. They also said that we should attempt to find out which method is best for each person. They did not like filling out forms on the site. They also felt that when they did submit their info it did not make things go quicker. They also liked to be armed with price and car knowledge before visiting the dealership . They also said that we force them to play the game. In regards to time at the dealership they felt that he process should take more than an hour but less than two. They quite felt emotionally drained after the process. Overall this was a great breakout session.
Jared Hamilton’s keynote speech was very informative and insightful. Here are a few things that I took away from his presentation.
There are three factors to human capital optimization.
1. There should be a balance between labor and technology. Sales people sell about he same amount of cars per person as ten years ago. Today’s technology helps them but it should up their productivity.
2. We should align our team for greatest impact. We tend to take the path of least resistance.
3. We must manage labor costs.
Jared also brought up a few things from a survey that driving sales had done. I took a few things away from this. Some of the factors that had the biggest impact on the sales process were that the customer liked the sales person and they liked transparency as well.
This was my favorite breakout session! Ron spoke about how we should hire for attitude in the sales force and train for skill. He also brought up some more information from the customer experience research study DrivingSales has done. Two things that he said really stuck out to me. 99.3 percent of shoppers expect the sales process to be a hassle and 56 percent of purchasers said they would buy more often if the buying experience was better.
All in all this was a great conference. It gets better each year. Any dealer that is trying to make it in the car industry should try this next year.